FINDING YOUR FOCUS AS A WRITER
As I pour out my heart to a fellow writer on my woes of still struggling to focus effectively when writing a story, the nudge for this post came to being. ‘You must not write every Idea that comes to you while writing’ comes his reassuring voice during our conversations.
In my mind I was freaking tired of this plague of too many ideas and not knowing which one to focus on. ‘If you could try Yoga more often, it would help you learn how to focus better’ he continues. ‘Me, Yoga?’, I question within me.
How frustrating can this be?
A picture of me crossing my legs, shutting my eyes, staying still and calming my senses sounds more like something I would begin and doze off almost immediately.
But then he’s got a point. He even suggested two to three more points.
One was that, I could jot down all other story ideas and save them for another story entirely.
Yeah, I’ve tried that out too, but still, those numerous story ideas, like minions keep dancing in, eachtime I put pen to paper and as usual, I couldn’t resist the push and pull trick they play on my story.
The result is always an uncompleted story. Having considered this a huge problem, I turned to Google and I was able to find links like
And many more to help out.
‘Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety’. Pv 11.14.
As humans, The Joy of doing what you love doing is immeasurable.
As writers, the pleasure from seeing your work earn recognition is ethereal.
If writing is your passion then take our hand and let’s do this together.
Don’t let the tiny wisphers of negativity pull you out of track.
Don’t let lack of focus on your growth and development in writing wriggle you out of the writing sphere either.
Make a declaration that you are going to focus on your writing as never before and that’s when things would actually change.
Read wide, Research with a purpose, Write stories that come natural to you and Accept criticism with pride.
Remember your watch word is Focus! Focus on you! Focus on building your writing! Focus on your writing growth! Focus on that single story and get it completed!
Take it a step at a time and Keep reinforcing Focus all the way!
FOCUSING ON ONE THING
Are all Ideas worth Fighting for?
Ideas are golden. So we are told. But do we even have the time, energy and expertise to focus all on every idea that comes our way?
How can we ascertain if this idea is even worth it?
Because we find it appealing, should we tick the checkbox and announce, ‘On your marks! Set! Go!?’ Here are some tips to help you immerse in one single and captivating idea and also, ascertain if it’s worth the focus:
¤ A Recurring Deal – If an idea keeps coming to you. Let’s say in more days (weeks, months, etc.) that go by, the same idea keeps coming to your mind, the more you know that you should do something about it as there could be a reason why you should pursue this story? If you have ignored it and it simply has remained persistent then it’s time to give it a try even when it’s potentials are slim.
¤ Who needs your story? – Who would benefit from this story? Truth is you may never tell. So if you feel this story would benefit one or two or even help you clear your head, you better pause and unpack.
¤ Hours to be spent – Now we’re down to time and the resources it affords us. Some ideas need more time to develope, more research and all.
If the idea is up to 80% mapped out in your mind, then why not push the button, but if not, focus on the ones that are and stock up the half-baked others, for later.
At last, you’ll agree that all writing ideas are worth fighting for, but time is not what we can offer at the same rate to each. You can’t fight two battles with the same tenacity. Why try to serve two masters at once? Therefore, Prioritize and let one rule and you’ll be glad you did!
FOCUS VS FREE STYLING?
Does freestyling require focus too?
Or we simply wander off, aimlessly? Without minding if there are thorny paths and that we could dash or slip or never return, hale and hearty?
No doubt, there are seasons in writing that are buoyant and we don’t have to struggle with finding any idea.
However sparse moments of low inspiration still exist. This is the time we rely on writing exercises like freewriting; to do the trick. ‘Allow yourself time to write rubbish,’ says Free writing idealists.
But free writing without something in mind could end up as a huge waste of time, trust me.
You end up with lots of jumbled stuff and a piece that becomes hard to fix or would require too much time to fix.
How then does focus help you while you freewrite?
Focus helps by giving you something to anchor on. This you can do when you begin your free write with : ¤ A Prompt – You can choose whatever you know works for you a movie scene, music, rich artistic pictures, an interesting theme or even an interesting title e.g How I feel in Love or a gist you had with a friend that you enjoyed. ¤ Timing – Once you’re done picking a topic then you proceed to timing yourself. 15 minutes, 30, 1 Hour. Just know the shorter time you pick the better to engage your mind before it wanders off track. ¤ No Perfect Words – This is not the time to impress anyone but a time to unleash your creativity so let the words flow. Don’t stop to find the perfect word. Pick the first word that finds it way to you and hurry off. ¤ No Excessive Editing – Try to resist editing till you are out of the time you set for yourself.
Understand that the reason why you are freewriting is to get the words out of you as fast as possible. The time duration also helps by giving you a set time to soak up in your thoughts and engage them specifically to the task at hand.
FACING THE CHALLENGE!
As a writer, you shouldn’t get comfortable with where you are. Your goal should be to constantly evolve yourself, pushing your limits and testing your boundaries. You must bear the spirit of a warrior if not how do you intend to battle the shenanigans that constantly crave for your attention on a daily basis.
Every writer faces different challenges but one thing is paramount, that you realise you are not alone. That you realise that the way forward is not by resting in your comfort zone.
Writing is like swimming, until you constantly dive in, you may never get to identify how good you’re becoming or how best to swim along with the tide.
So what are those fears holding you back from writing? What are those inadequacies you feel are retarding you? It’s time to push them all away as those fears would never let you achieve your set goals.
Silence your inner critic and challenge yourself. Enter for the writing contest of #PensAndKeyboards, Face other writers in the writosphere and challenge yourself!
You have nothing to lose!
If you’re ready to duel visit @ ecmichaels.com or other interesting writers pages that offer contests advice. I know eboquills also does these contests.🤩
DEFINING YOUR WRITING PATH
Imagine the View of your writing portfolio in future, what would it be like? Written over a hundred novels? Haven acquired massive readership? Won noteworthy contests from reputable platforms? Possessing Admirable writing coaching skills etc
Are you done imagining? Now assess where you are and what it would take you to be there in future. Ascertain the amount of resources ( Time, Trainings , Exposure etc) you’ll require.
Now how much have you done already?
Are you half way there or haven’t even stepped an inch?
If not revisit the first paragraph.
I pray you define your writing path early and start reaping the benefits of your writing labours. The key to succeeding is early preparation so start defining your writing path, early.
GENERATING IDEAS FOR YOUR FICTION
Now, there are three basic ways you generate story ideas or themes in fiction. 👉 Observation 👉 Derivative ( Changing the Narrative )
👉Revolutionary (Connected with evolving something)
¤ OBSERVATION – By simply observing what is happening. E.g if you want to write a piece about Boko Harem and the Nigerian crises you can observe how the
Stories go on the news. The patterns they take and weave something.
¤ DERIVATIVE – From the word – derive; You can pick an existing story and change the Narrative. E.g most legendary stories employ this method. For instance I used the story of David and Uriah’s wife to weave a Story. I love to retell bible stories. I did another one with my story Life of a Prisoner, Where I retold the story of Joseph in a captivating way. You too can choose a story from the bible. Research and weave a great Contemporary story out of it.
¤ REVOLUTIONARY – Entails you go further than just the derivative. If you’ve seen the American movie, ‘Concussion’ and read the Slugline, you would understand this better. The story was likened to The drama of David And Goliath. The main Character Dr Bennett was the David and The Big Players in the Football business where the Goliath. You can tell what the movie would be like from this vivid capture.
Join an active literary group. I tell you, it can save your life.
Here’s why I believe joining active and educative writer’s group is helpful. ¤ You learn a lot about your area of interest.
¤ It opens you up to more ideas and creativity in that area.
¤ It helps you stay motivated. A writer- artist we once interviewed on Making Monday Mild attested to this.
Writing requires effort and good writing groups motivate you in the right direction. The right writing group gives you the right kind of focus.
Hope you find that group that sharpens your focus. You can begin with @www.makingmondaymild.com.ng and navigate to our social media channels on Instagram and Facebook 🤩
YOUR AUDIENCE AND YOU
So we’re moving from the stand point of your audience to what moves you to scribble lines on paper.
Just picture yourself on stage, but this time you are sitting next to your audience. Not necessarily on the main stage, facing them.
Now, You would have noticed that you do more work trying to please people who are not interested in your topic, than you do with persons who are already interested in it?
🤷🏽♀🤷🏽♀🤷🏽♀ I think I’m getting a nod from you now.
Alright, This again emphasizes why you need to target only a segment of the market; Age, Gender, Interests etc.
I won’t say this is easy to figure out but a few checks would help you determine this.
For me the very questions I love to ask are:
👉🏻 Would my audience like this story?
👉🏻 Does it speak to them in anyway?
👉🏻 Would they find it helpful?
👉🏻 In what way would this help them?
👉🏻 Would they find something in it for them?
👉🏻 Does it relate to their current needs?
What these questions do for you is simple; Connection.
They circle the point where the needs of your audience merges with and your writing.
LET’S UN-DRESS FOCUS
I fondly recall the story of the prodigal son in the bible. That story was one remarkable story of love and reconciliation. But more importantly, it was one of self discovery and self realisation.
Lessons to take home is; you may wander about in life until you find your true purpose. You may be rich, you may have all at your beck and call but still live outside purpose. Living outside purpose may somehow bring you back to your knees.
You go out everyday, but what’s more important is that you find out if you’re truly living your life’s purpose. Don’t look at me with that face of ,”I don’t know if I’m living mine” Truth is we all can tell if we are living right. Even the devil knows himself. Lol. The Lord said the wicked has been created, even for the day of trouble. While the prodigal son approached his father, the father ordered his servants to undress him and put on him new robes.
Coming back to the father with a new realization, his father had to replicate his new beginning with new robes and accessories. To live with purpose means to live in a new dimension, a new realm. One that you’ve always envisaged yourself living but have always held captive in your imagination. What principles do you have to un cloak to come to full realization of your potential? You know best. You’ll definitely find your way.
Visit www.Facebook.com/makingmondaymild for more interesting reads.